So, I'm turning 30 in September. Professionally it means that I've been working for nearly a decade by then. That's long, and I have had the try to try different working environments, companies and organisation.
I started at the foreign news desk of Sveriges Television, the Swedish public service broadcaster. By then I was a year into my journalist studies at Mid Sweden University. One day after coming home from the sports hall, where I had trained my gymnastics team, I had a missed phone call. So I called back and spoke to the head of the news desk (but I didn't know who she was or her position by then) asking if I could come to Stockholm for an interview. Of course I said, and within a week I had a train ticket and was on my way to the capital (where I had never been before actually). The interview was super difficult and I had also lost my voice, which wasn't ideal for a tv interview. But their question in the end was: When can you start? And on that path it is.
After two years it was time to move to Cairo, Egypt, where I worked half a year at the Egyptian state goverened TV station, then I returned to Sweden working as a news anchor at TV4 and reporter at Aftonbladet.
But I was restless and dying to have an international job and live somewhere else, so I was always looking for the right position. And finally one day I applied for an internship at the press unit of the European Parliament. It was paid and for five months and I thought that if I just manage to get into the house I'll find a way to stay. And so I did. A few weeks after starting I had signed the contract with my MEP. And this is where I am now. It might sound like I had a lot of luck, but in reality there is a lot of hard work, focus and behind. In building up my personal trademark, knowledge and experience.
For those of you who also have the same "restless" feeling that I had, and wanted to do something else I can tell you this:
- The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide where you are going and that you are not going to stay where you are.
- Set goals but stay flexible. Once you've set your sight on something you can start taking small steps in the right direction. Still, keep your mind open for opportunities you hadn't foreseen.
- Explore. Your twenties is the perfect time for trying new and different things. You still have your whole career in front of you, but it doesn't mean that you need to stick to the same thing throughout it.
- Find your passion! Success comes easier if you are working towards something you like.
- Expand your network. Shake hands, mingle and introduce yourself to employers on your wish list, or other professionals who might be able to guide you.
- Build your personal trademark. You name must send out a positive and reputable message. Figure out what is unique with you and your competences and use it to your advantage.
- Be proactive by for example sending spontaneous applications. You need to create opportunities, not wait for them.
- Knowledge is power. Get yourself a mentor who you trust and who can advise you. Soak up constructive criticism and feedback in order to improve. Read into fields that you want to know more about. Never stop learning.
- Keep track of milestones and major achievements in your career, it will make it easier to frame your personal trademark and comes handing when updating your CV later.
- Finally, your life doesn't get better by chance, it gets better by change.